7 Butt-Shaping Fitness Tips That Actually Work

We’ve already brought you the best butt workouts from YouTube, introduced the butt bras you need for a perkier booty, and rounded up the 50 best asses in Hollywood. Now, we’re turning our attention to expert advice on how to get a perkier, rounder, firmer derriere the old fashioned way–by eating well and hitting the gym. There’s still a few weeks left of summer, ladies.

We chatted with Larry Twohig, co-founder of Culture Fitness. He has more than 15 years experience getting bodies into shape, coaching Olympic athletes, and has earned a BS in Physiology from Cornell University–so basically, this guy knows his stuff. Here are his top tips for getting a better booty than Beyoncé.

1. Do your squats.

To target your butt, Larry recommends bigger, weight-bearing movements at the gym. “Think squats, split squats, Bulgarian squats, step-ups, and deadlifts,” he said. “These exercises activate more of the glute muscle, providing more bang for your buck. I also like bridging variations and hyperextensions. I wouldn’t waste time with smaller isolation movements even though they may ‘burn’ the butt muscle, because they don’t have as much impact.”

2. Target your glutes at least twice each week.

Although the number of times you exercise and the weight that you choose to lift depends on many factors, Larry thinks women should generally aim for two or three butt workouts every week. “In general, the bigger movements [like squats and deadlifts] should be performed two or three times every week.”

MORE: The 20 Best Booty-Sculpting Workouts From YouTube

3. Combine cardio with weights.

It’s going to take a combination of cardio and weights to build a lean, perky butt: “In order to change the body you must challenge it past what it’s accustomed to,” Larry explained, adding, “Working towards heavier weights will build lean, attractive muscle. Cardio such as running and walking doesn’t really challenge the glutes enough to change the muscle, but they can be used for fat reduction. Stair climbing and incline hill walking are a bit more effective, but no substitute for the weight training.”

4. Stretch.

It’s important to stretch before and after you hit the gym to avoid injuries, but Larry says stretching could also improve the quality of your workout and get you closer to a great butt sooner: “Stretching after cardio can be used to improve flexibility. If there is a standout lack of flexibility for a given movement, then improvement of range of motion can make an exercise more effective, and the stretching thus has a positive impact on results,” he said.

Larry recommends foam rolling, which is literally rolling your muscles over a foam cylinder, before weights training: “Those looking to improve the effect of weight training should include foam rolling before lifting, to improve performance during the exercise session, and increasing the effect on the butt,” he said.

5. Eat to fuel your body.

“Balance good fats, good proteins, and good carbs like ezekiel bread instead of whole wheat or white bread. Be sure to eat include fiber and don’t eat crap!”

6. Treat muscle tone and definition differently. 

Larry explained that you could be following your exercise routine like a champion and building plenty of muscle, but unless you’re careful about your calories, you’ll never have definition or get the perky look most women want.

“Height, shape, definition and tone are the most common goals [for women]. Muscle tone and definition should be treated separately: One has to do with training the muscle and the other has to do with nutrition and favorable caloric balance in order to uncover the muscle tone you’ve achieved from the weight training,” he said. So basically, if you don’t eat healthily, your hard work in the gym will go unnoticed.

MORE: The Ultimate Butt Dictionary 

7. Use it or lose it.

If you’re tied to your desk at work all day, you probably desperately need to include some weight training in your exercise regime: “The number one mistake women make is to avoid lower body training and just relying on cardio for shaping the butt. You have to remember that working in a job where you are sedentary and sitting all day shuts the butt muscles down, so you’ve got to use ’em or lose ’em.”